HARTFORD — Rep. John Rigby has offered his support to legislation that would see the Department of Transportation make the repair of deteriorating railroad beds on state roads more of a priority.
Rigby, of Colebrook, recently offered testified in support of S.B. 344, An Act Concerning the Upgrade or Elimination of Hazardous Railroad Crossings at Grade.
The Transportation Committee bill was drafted at the request of railroad companies amid safety concerns. Committee members passed the proposal unanimously earlier this month.
Many railway crossings were not designed for the high-impact—heavy freight trucks, for example—and high volume traffic they see, Rigby said. New England winters have taken their toll, too.
“Railroad freight is an important component of our local economy,” said Rigby, a member of the legislature’s Finance Committee. “Northwest Corner companies depend on trains for shipping and receiving.”
Money is available for such repairs, Rigby said, but a host of other projects end up higher on the to-do list.
DOT has worked to compile a list of at-risk railway crossings, Rigby said. This bill simply provides guidelines for prioritizing and funding this initiative.
“Constituents often say that it’s the little things we do that make a big difference,” Rigby said. “This is just one small step to improve our infrastructure and maintain a healthy business environment.”